Sunday, August 23, 2015

THE TWO GREAT COMMANDMENTS: SCS No. 56



Sunday, August 23, 2015, Stoney Creek Sermonette: Number 56

PRAYER for Today:
Father, we know You are able to heal the hearts of a broken nation.  All we ask is that Your will be done and whatever Your will is to give us the strength and wisdom to live Your will till Your Son comes back.  It is in His name we pray. Amen.

SCRIPTURE for Today: Mark 12:28-34 (ESV)

28 And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” 32 And the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher. You have truly said that he is one, and there is no other besides him. 33 And to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one's neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” 34 And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And after that no one dared to ask him any more questions.


SERMON for Today:

Most often this portion of Scripture is called the Great Commandment, but actually there are two commandments.  One is easier than the other to follow.

The first one about loving God above everything else is easier than the second one.  God has shown His love to us by sending His Son to give us hope and life.  He created a beautiful world for us to live in and look at.  He will give us help and comfort in our time of need.  Once you make the decision that God is not dead, but rather is alive and well He is easy to love.

The second commandment is much more difficult.  

Romans 13:8-10 (ESV) 8 Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

Here the Apostle Paul is further explaining what is expected of someone trying to live a life in the steps of Jesus.  Be clear.  Neighbor does not just mean those folks you like or approve of.  Neighbor means all your fellow human beings.

It is easier to love a good and great God than some people, but Jesus said to love humanity as much as we love ourselves.  What a peaceful world we would have if we all could only follow these two commandments.
  
© Ed Cooper, August 23, 2015, Stoney Creek, Tennessee
  All rights reserved

(Ed Cooper is an ordained Elder and minister in the Christian Church/Churches of Christ which are a part of the Restoration Movement started in Appalachia in the early 1800’s.  Ed started preaching as a teenager in the village churches around Mashoko Mission, Zimbabwe, Africa when he was there with his parents in the early 1960’s.)

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